Monday, August 11, 2014

Month out of the Gym Re-Cap!

Remember a month or so ago when I mentioned that Jacob my trainer was kicking me out of the gym for a month? Well, I am here to let you know, I survived! Now, for some, I know they may have taken that as a huge sign to relax and not do much of anything, but for me, it drove me crazy. It was so hard. At first I wasn't sure how I was going to get through it mentally, being out of the gym that is.  Each day got a little easier, and even though I wasn't in the gym lifting weights like my body was used to doing, I challenged myself and tried new things along the way. I looked for new ideas and things to keep me active. 

I started my month break on a trip to Arizona in the middle of June (yes, I know...crazy HOT)! I was a little concerned on what I was going to do as I wasn't sure the set up of the hotel, and I knew anything outside in the ways of exercise was going to be way too hot (heat and I don't get along when it comes to exercise). Luckily our hotel had a great pool and a workout room that had an exercise bike, so I was able to make do. In fact, if you are planning to go outside in Arizona, you do it early in the morning. We went on a family hike at 6:00am the day after we got there. It wasn't altogether a hike in regards to what I am used to, so I decided upon returning to the hotel, to swim laps in the pool and then ride the bike in the exercise room. Sorta created my own mini triathlon of sorts. It was fun and again, something new.

My month continued with various hikes, biking, and hitting the pool that is located at one of the other satellite gyms affiliated with my gym. I've always known swimming was a full body workout, but I wasn't sure at first if I was going to get the same kind of satisfaction I do from other cardio as I would be wet and in the water, instead of sweating along the way. It took one time in the pool of swimming laps for 35 minutes to realize the next morning that my upper body was sore. It felt great. Not only that, as the days went on, I found myself enjoying the pool more and more. In fact, it's not something I will be able to fit into my schedule during the week when school starts up again and I am back at work full time, but I am hoping to occasionally hit the pool for some laps on a weekend when I have more time. 

As much as I didn't want to give this "month off" from lifting weights a whirl, I'm glad I did. I learned new things, tried new things, and challenged myself in ways I wouldn't have done otherwise. Like I said the other day, exercise has become part of my natural habitat. I can't go for more than a day without it. I crave it. Not in an obsessive way, but a healthy way. I love the feeling of being healthy! 

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Inspiring Others

Did you know that even if you are in the beginning phases of your journey or if you are new to getting healthy, you're going to be an inspiration to others?  Did you notice how I didn't say you "You can be in an inspiration" but a "You will be an inspiration." I've learned it's just one of the parts about this whole thing that has blessed me and continues to bless my life. 

When I first starting blogging about my journey it was something I chose to do to go back and relive some of those experiences, thoughts, and feelings as I hadn't documented along the way and felt like I hadn't enjoyed the process. I needed to be in the trenches again so I could feel the emotions of it and in the end have it help me continue to be successful.

I learned that even from the start I had people cheering me on and reminding me how strong I was. As the weight trickled off, little by little, I realized that even though I was far from where I wanted to be, my actions and motivation for taking on the project of "finding the new me" was inspiring others. It really was a hard concept to grasp and even now from time to time I tend to struggle with the idea. I mean, living as heavy as I was for as long as I did, clearly is not inspiring to people seeking after a healthier lifestyle. So, to change gears and train my brain to think differently was a real eye opener. 

Just a couple weeks ago I was able to meet one of the gals who reads my blog for lunch. She had contacted me several months ago and we have corresponded some, so while my husband and I were traveling I was able to make the time to visit with her. What a treat! It really was a special thing to sit down and talk with virtually, a total stranger and just listen and learn of how much my story has blessed her life.  I love more than anything the feeling of paying-it-forward. I hadn't done anything special or out of the norm to have brought us together other than sharing my story, my struggles, and keeping it real. And even though I am not a professional when it comes to fitness and health, we were able to bounce ideas off each other and I was able to share with her tips and things that worked for me during various parts of my journey. I remember getting in my car afterwards and as I drove away felt so overwhelmed with joy. Joy that something that brought me years of struggle and disappointment, had now brought me peace, happiness, and more importantly, a new friend. 

So with that, meet my new friend Teresa....


Never underestimate the power you have to influence someone else regardless of where you are in your journey. I'm not indicating everyone needs to write a blog.  It can mean even keeping a journal or sharing your thoughts and progression with a small network of people. When more people know about what is going on and can be a support to you, the more you will naturally inspire them and together it can be key to your success. 

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Overcoming the Fear

This is a topic that I think we all can relate to in one way or another, whether it has to do with living a healthy lifestyle of weight loss and being successful at it or something as simple as being afraid of heights. I'm only mentioning these two because they both have either been a part of my life in the past or are still somewhat of a fear I am currently dealing with. 

When I first even had the inclination that I wanted to try to get healthy and lose some of the weight I was carrying around, I had no idea what that would look like. I was scared my body wouldn't respond. I was scared of the unknown. I didn't know what to do or even how to do it, and I was even scared with the thought that I wouldn't be able to stick with it. Like I said, I had no clear picture of anything that lied ahead and when I thought of my body looking different and being lighter, my brain when to mush. It was fear. What is the opposite of fear? Faith. I had no faith in myself that I could become better. (Just typing that out makes me sad.)
(I had already lost 40 pounds when this picture was taken.)

 When did that change? It was baby steps. The more I saw a little bit of progress, the more I believed in myself. Instead of jumping my thoughts way ahead to the end and what I hoped things were going to be like, I kept it small. I kept it real. Looking ahead, believing with faith that I was going to reach my next goal, whatever it may be. The more faith I deposited into my baby steps, the more I trusted in God to help me, the further I went, eventually reaching my goals. Kinda like a bank account. The more deposits of faith and "I can do this" statements I added to my account, the better off I was going to be, especially when hit with a rough patch or a plateau. In the end, I had trained my brain to believe I could do anything I put my mind to. 
I tell you this because just this last week, I started to work on yet another fear of mine - heights! I know, sounds crazy coming from the girl who loves to hike mountains, but it's true. I guess I am used to hiking mountains in Washington, where things are lush and green and trees everywhere and you really don't realize you are going up until you reach the top and have a beautiful view of the world below. Not to mention, there are usually plenty of surroundings on each side of you to make you feel safe, even when at the top. This past week our kids were gone at a church retreat for the week so my husband and I decided to do some hiking. He's a big-time backpacker, hiker and loves the outdoors. We decided to hike up Mt. Timpanogos. It's in Utah between Salt Lake City and Provo, about 6 hours from where we live. We had heard many wonderful things about this hike so we were excited to make the trip. The trail itself is beautiful. 
Very well traveled, lots of flowers, waterfalls, wild mountain goats, and things to see on the way up. I was in heaven.










Once we hit an open meadow area, there weren't many trees anymore and nothing but the tip of the mountain way off in the distance. 
(We had already hiked 4 miles by the time we reached the meadow. Up to the right is the "saddle" then you hike up and around the back to get to the top. It was another good 3.5 miles.)

From there is when I started to get uneasy. We had to cross over a few snowfields that were not exactly flat, so no falling or slipping was allowed. 
Then once we got up to what was called the saddle of the mountain, that is where I was pretty sure I wasn't going any further. Literally, a small narrow trail that dropped straight off the mountian. No gradual decline down the side just a straight drop.
(This was taken up on the saddle with the meadow down below to the left.)


(This would be what the trail looks like most of the time getting up the rest of the way. Yep, like I said...straight down! No edge of any kind.)

I kept thinking to myself, "And they say people don't die on this mountain? They say Timp is very safe to hike?" I couldn't believe it! I hiked up to camp Muir on Mt. Rainier last year and this had no comparison. Rainier was a piece of cake compared to this.
(This was the view from the saddle with still 3 miles to climb.)

We took a break for a few minutes and then Steve was very sweet about asking me how I felt and if I wanted to go on. He said he would be fine if we turned back if that is what I wanted to do. In some ways I was done, but in other ways I wanted to get to the top. I came this far, I wanted to make it. It was one of those moments where I sat there on that mountain filled with emotion that my body was even capable of getting as far as it did. It wouldn't have even been able to barely leave the parking lot a few years ago. I then had the thought of fear and what I had to do to overcome the fear of being successful on my weight loss journey. Baby steps came into my head. I was going to take baby steps to the top. Or at least give it a try. I had decided even if I got part of the way, it was a start, and I would feel much better about trying and having faith, rather than giving up and running from fear. Needless to say we made it to the top, little by little, scaling the side of the mountain at a couple points where rocks fell for miles below.

(This is for real folks! Scaling the side of the mountain at a few spots. I was not smiling by the way. I think I was moaning or something.)

I even announced I was done more than once but then something in me wanted to keep going. I was shaking, I was nervous, all the things that were probably not a good combination when climbing up the side of a mountain that had nothing but drop-offs and the city below to catch me. Steve even had to slow down as the altitude was giving him a headache.  I'll never forget the feeling of accomplishment when reaching the little white shack that sits on the top of the mountain.
 I felt like I was on top of the world and could do anything I put my mind and heart to. Whether it was losing weight and getting healthy or climbing 15 scary miles over a 10 hour period, I was reminded again that I am capable of anything.

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Rock n Roll - 1/2 Marathon Race Re-Cap!



 There is something I have loved about coming home to Seattle every summer for the past 4 years to run the Seattle Rock n Roll, but for some reason, this year it was like icing on the cake. Icing on the cake of who I have become. 

I really didn't have any goals for myself for this race other than to enjoy it and to have fun. In the past when I train, there has always seemed to be a level of anxiety that fills my body. It usually starts months ahead when I look at the training schedule and anticipate all I need to do in order to be ready for the big day. Then I study the long runs and their increase in mileage by the week, which causes more anxiety. In a nut shell, it always has felt great to complete the race, but the process to get me there hasn't always been my favorite. 

This time I decided to go about things a little differently. I had just gotten done with Ragnar SoCal in April so I was still in my routine of running. I decided that this time around for the Rock n Roll I wasn't going to follow any certain training plan. I was just going to plan to run 3 shorter runs during the week with a long run on Saturday. I liked the idea of not being tied to a schedule per say. Part of that for me I think comes from the fact that I am such a rule follower. If I didn't follow my schedule to a tee, I would get cranky and frustrated, even like I was feeling behind. Having no schedule other than to get the runs in I have learned is a much better option for me. Not only that, because I wasn't stressing about how many miles I needed to get in or the run I missed yesterday and trying to make it up somewhere along the way, I was able to learn to love what I was doing. Learn to love running. Finally!

It was a beautiful day on Saturday in Seattle. We couldn't have asked for better weather. We got up at five and headed out the door so we could be downtown by 6:00 to catch the monorail to the Seattle Center. We arrived with plenty of time to get situated, check our bags, wait in line for the restrooms, and get to our coral. I had eaten a piece of bread with peanut butter and a half of a banana before leaving the house. I was hoping it was enough time to get it settled before we got started because my stomach is ultra sensitive when I'm running. In fact, I have to run on minimal water and fuel. I know, not always the best idea, but I have found a few things that work for me, so I stick with the basics and press on. 

Once our coral crossed the starting line we were off. My best friend Tammy and I have run this race together every year. She is quite the runner and could out run me any day but this is one of those runs we have always just done together. She was a huge part of my support team on the journey to a healthier me, so I love that she comes and does this with me every year. Better yet, she runs along side me the whole way. 




As we headed down the streets of Seattle I marveled at the large buildings and the beauty of the city I was raised in. That is one thing I love about this race. The course is absolutely perfect. You get city, waterfront, Mt. Rainier, Puget Sound, Safeco Field, Space Needle, and so many other sites. We were running a fairly decent pace the first few miles. I felt great. In fact, we were passing people! For me this is the first. I'm usually the one people are passing by left and right. I think at one point I had thought I didn't know how long I'd be able to keep that pace, but then I didn't think about it and kept going. The miles continued to pass and we kept on going, passing people along the way. There is a point on this run where you have to run a mile through a tunnel and I don't do tunnels, so I'm sure I slowed down a bit but not much. At mile eleven we were running up what's called the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The views of the Sound are wonderful. We even stopped for a selfie! Speaking of selfies, this was the first race I was able to take my phone on now that I bought a flip belt. (Best invention ever. I don't even feel it on me and I am super picky about carrying extra things on a run.) It was fun to be able to snap a few pictures here and there along the way.



About the time we were at mile eleven, I glanced at my watch. I knew that I would be finishing the race nearly 30 minutes faster than last year as I had some cramping and had to walk a bit last year. Then I then realized that it was possible for me to get a PR. I had pretty much written the idea of this off long ago as they had changed the course from the first two years we ran it. Back then it was much flatter with only a few hills. Now, for the past two years, it has been rather hilly with a doozy at the end. I never imagined I could beat my first time of 02:14 and some change. As we kept running I started picking up speed as in my mind I decided I was going to go for it. I wasn't sure what Tammy was thinking at this point as she was weaving in and out of people like I was, nearly on the opposite side of the road. I saw another tunnel up ahead and started to panic a bit but decided I was going to push through it and run faster. I thought, "The faster I run, the faster I get through this tunnel." We ran a short distance more before rounding the corner to the chute. Mind you, it is a huge hill that climbs for what seems like FOREVER! People cheering you on left and right but it still doesn't seem to help. It was at that point that people where passing us for the first time. I almost felt silly but seriously, I couldn't make my legs go any faster up that hill. I finished 13.1 with a time of 02:13:32. It was the fastest half I had ever run! I felt great. Aside from the hill at the end, I honestly could have kept going.

The human body amazes me! When we fuel it and take care of it in the right way, it will perform the way we want it to. I am grateful for the knowledge and the things I have learned over the past several years and what exactly my body can do for me. Instead of being something I dread, something that weighs me down, it has become a machine of nothing but goodness. It has shaped me to who I am today and has opened a whole new way of life to be 
enjoyed that I never knew existed. Life is good! 



P.S. After the run, it has become our tradition to have a girls weekend and head to the coast for a couple days to relax and recoup after a season of training and running. It's nice to just not be on a schedule, walk the beach, shop, hike a trail or two, and eat as much naughty food as we want. Here are a few pictures from that part of the trip. 

Ever since my foot surgery a few years back, my feet love the sand after a long race. The beach makes for a perfect stop on the way home.


Yep, Tammy's sister-in-law made us the BEST CAKE ever to eat after the race!

Don't ask! I have no idea...

P.P.S.....I have a mentioned this was the best race ever? 

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Getting Kicked out of the Gym for a MONTH!

I've known this was coming but the reality of it is starting to sink in. I'm headed to Seattle this weekend to run the Rock n Roll half marathon, and then I've been officially kicked out of the gym for a month, per Jacob, my trainer who knows all. When he first started talking about going this route several weeks ago, imagine a two year old throwing a temper tantrum. Yep, that would pretty much be me. I've begged, cried, and fought this one hard but there was no budging on his decision. The answer was "No!" 


I'm sure many of you are wondering why in the world a trainer of all people would advise his client to do such a thing. Better yet, I've already mentioned it to a few people and they were leery of me doing it. In fact, I've even been told already I was crazy. I reassured them that even though I don't altogether understand it myself yet, I trust Jacob with my life. He knows his stuff. He wouldn't do what he does if he didn't. Not to mention, this is the guy who has walked me through losing over 130 pounds (by eating healthy and exercise) and has helped me keep it off for nearly 4 years. 

In a nutshell, and simply the best way to explain what is going on is, my body has been working non-stop, and very hard for that matter, for nearly 4 years without a break. Well, let me clarify. Jacob has always had me occasionally take a week off from the gym to sorta shock my body but nothing longer than that. He says my body is tired. It is run down. It is exhausted. It needs rest. In fact, it is so tired and run down that it is not performing the way I want it to or that it needs to in order to maintain a healthy me.

I have been consistently eating a high protein diet (as I normally do) as well as maintaining 4 lifts a week and 4-5 days of cardio and my body is not able to maintain its lean muscle. My body fat percentage is at 19% which is great (I'm not complaining a bit), but my lean muscle that I have worked so hard to get me where I am is slowly dropping. For example, the beginning of April I had 125.1 pounds of lean muscle and today when I was pinched and inched, I had 121. I know this may not sound like a big deal but I've worked too hard to not be lean and fit. I don't want to go backwards. There are two other reasons I am needing to take a break. One is to prevent injury and the other relates again to pushing farther than my body will go. Jacob explained this very well the other day. He said if I continued on like I am, there is a very good chance that chemically things could fall out of whack and then I would find myself seeing a natural-path to try to help get me back on track. 

Am I nervous about taking a month off? Yes, I'm not going to lie. I'm not excited about it one bit. This is going to be totally new territory for me. Oh and Jacob has me eating more and is actually hoping I gain a little bit of weight. Crazy huh? I know! But then I keep feeding my brain the words he said.  "Your body needs a long break. I need it to forget what it feels like to workout hard. I need it to forget what it's like to be healthy. I need it to forget what it's like to be on a routine. Then when you return, it will fire up and perform like no other. You will be able to maintain the way you want to and keep that lean muscle in place. You will be a rockstar!" I'm not so sure I was convinced, but I have always done what he says. 100%!

 (Literally, kicking me out of the gym!)

I asked Jacob how often he does this to a client and he said he never has. My jaw dropped, yes. Panic mode Paige set in again. Like, "No, I don't want to be the guinea pig."  Then he went on to say, "But I rarely have clients that have done what you have done. Clients that are 100% dialed in on your nutrition, and who have pushed as long and hard as you have. You deserve a break! You can do this!"

So with that, I will press on...one day at a time for the next month starting after Saturday. The good news is that I can hike, bike, swim, take a walk and be active in many ways, just no lifting and running. I truly am grateful for Jacob and his wisdom and council. Sometimes it feels like more of a therapy session, but in the end, I wake up the next day ready to press on, one day at a time, enjoying my body and what it has become. So with that, thank you Jacob Wilson. We can do this! Be Elite! Life is good! 

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Taking Care of YOU!

Have you ever heard the saying that when you help someone or serve them in some way, that it will make you feel better about yourself? I find this to be very true as I love doing things for others and reaching out to make someone’s day a little brighter, but I have also learned in the course of losing weight and getting healthy that one of those people needed to be myself. I don’t mean that in a selfish way by any means. I mean it in a way that you need to not only build others up but also build up yourself. This was something I was never good at until I learned that my self-worth was worth nurturing and taking care of, just like anyone else’s. In fact, for years I think I often times would think I was making myself feel better by doing one of three things: doing something nice for someone else, lounging around not doing much of anything, or eating things I knew I shouldn’t on a regular basis. These three things were my medication of sorts. This was how I dealt with being overweight. In fact, aside from doing something nice for someone else, it was easier to be a hermit than to get outside the walls of my home. 

In the process of trying to make a change, here are some of the things I’ve learned:
It’s not always easy to step away from the family and get to the gym, but I know I need to do it.
It’s not always easy to pay the expense of using a personal trainer, but the tools that are added to my basket on a weekly basis are tools of nutrition and health. Success is on being educated not on losing weight. 
It’s not always easy to make yourself go to bed early because our bodies need rest.
It’s not always easy to occasionally have to eat something different than your family.
It’s not always easy to go spend money on new clothes when for so many years you have put yourself last in line on the shopping list.
It’s not always easy to say “no” to the junk food put in front of you.
It’s not always easy to have to discipline yourself but the fact of the matter is, we all need boundaries. 
It’s not always easy to stretch yourself and try new things, but you turn out to be a better person when you do.
It’s not always easy to push yourself hard and through the impossible, but it’s worth it.

I have had to work at these things, but one of the greatest things I have learned on this journey is the fact that I am just as important to serve and love as anyone else. In fact, the more I have learned to serve myself and love who I have become, the more I want to serve others (funny how things work that way).  It’s never easy being overweight and insecure with the body you live in. I wish in my heart I could change that thinking in the lives of others but just like anything else, the only way to really gain a testimony of it is to experience it and go through it yourself. The process is often times painful, but in the end the joy and new set on life is worth it all. 

Looking back, I honestly wouldn’t change being overweight the majority of my life for anything. Sure, it would have been nice to have been skinny sooner or for more years than I was fat, but I also can say that if it wasn’t for being as overweight as I had become, I wouldn’t be the person I have become today. Someone who can do what others think is the impossible, someone who believes in herself, someone who is finally living a life for years she had only dreamed of.




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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Pushing the Limits

Have you ever been asked to do something and you thought, "There is just no way?!"  Like, no physical way. Like beyond fathomable? Yep, that was me a couple weeks ago when I met with my trainer. I had showed up to the appointment and was blindsided when he had found out just the day before from another client how SLOW I ran The Great Potato 10k. Mind you, I was not running that race for any specific time but just did it with a group of friends from work. In fact, the first 1.5 miles I ran along side my best friend's mom at her pace and encouraged her along. Not to mention, the first 1.5 - 2 miles were gridlocked and I could only go as fast as the person in front of me as we were on a sectioned off part of the road. Anyway, Jacob informed me that we were going to start our workout that day by me running the fastest mile I could run. Ha! I thought he was kidding. Then it clicked in. "You've known him WAY too long. He is so NOT kidding!" And on the treadmill I went. At first, as I started running, Jacob kept increasing the speed. With each raised number, I tried more to confirm to him that I couldn't go as fast as he wanted me to go. In fact, I grabbed the sides of the treadmill and jumped off. At that point he informed me that every time I jumped off, we were going to start over. Yikes!!! I'm not really sure what clicked, but I knew if I was going to make it through this mile, I needed to focus, concentrate, and give it all I had. 8:47 minutes later I was done! Surprised? Very! Happy? Not at all! In fact, it felt like torture at the time. Then I was informed we'd be doing the same thing this past week. I think that put me in a bad mood for the rest of my session, because Jacob told me he didn't think he's ever seen me testy like that. He was probably right. 

This time I came in with a mindset of what I knew I needed to do. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but I knew I could do it. I picked a song on my I-pod, got a focal point, and went to work. Jacob pushed and pushed a little further, always encouraging me and cheering me on along the way. I tried not to focus on looking down at how far I had left to go but instead focus on the fact that I was doing something I hadn't done before. A new challenge. This time I did my mile in 7:57. Again, Surprised? Yes! Happy? Yes!

Just like losing the weight initially, I was scared, unsure of myself and skeptical of the outcome. But the thing that brings me back for more, the thing that keeps pushing me to live healthy and keep the weight off that I've worked so hard to achieve, is the fact that just when I think my limits are being pushed as far as they can go, I still am learning more and more about myself. About the person who's been hiding in this body all these years. About the person who has discovered discipline and determination and is willing to push the limits to find peace and happiness. 



Now, I meet with Jacob again today. Who knows what he'll have in store for me this time, but the good news is, regardless of how hard he pushes the limits and how frustrated I get in the process, I know deep down he is only trying to make me a better me. That is why he does what he does. And that is why I am forever grateful!

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Stick With It!

When it comes to losing weight and making a lifestyle change, it can occasionally get discouraging or mundane or like you are doing the same thing day in, day out, week after week, month after month.  Maybe you are feeling better and seeing changes and maybe you aren't, but the one thing I can say is to just....STICK WITH IT! 

I know it can be easy to want to give up and not go on if your body doesn't respond and perform the way you want it to. I went through this several times. My body would do well for a period of time and then decide to fight me a bit. It can be frustrating but in my own way I have come to realize that really, my body was just wanting to see how hard I was going to work, how dedicated I was, and if I mentally had what it took to push through the wall of a 2 or 3 week no-progress phase and keep going. It's like my body needed to be tested to see if I was up for the challenge. In every instance (and believe me, when you have a lot of weight to lose and what seems like a long road ahead) when I would just believe in myself a little bit more than the day before and continue to press forward, without fail, I always came off the plateau feeling like I had conquered yet another hard aspect of making it a lifestyle change that was going to last forever. Each time I would bump up against those type of walls in the future, it made it all that much easier to make it over the hump. 

The other area of concern that I have seen or been asked about is if after losing say half or 3/4 the amount of weight I was working on losing, did I feel like I wanted to relax a bit more? Give myself a little more slack per say. Nope, for me that has never been an issue. I, personally, am a very driven person and so once my mind was set and I had decided to do this, I was in 100%. Whatever it took, I was going to do it and do it right. I had worked too hard and learned too many wonderful strategies to want to allow myself anything less than the best. I felt like I deserved that. My body and mind deserved that.  The same applies for anyone asking themselves those questions too. Your body deserves you at 100%.

If you have a long way to go like I did, it will take time to reprogram the brain that this is a forever thing, not just a temporary fix to get you to your goal and then it's back to your old ways. That type of thinking will never work. It never worked for me and trust me, I know and attempted it several times before getting it right. What I do know is that even though it's hard, and sometimes we feel inadequate, drained, and like we can't go any further and just need a break, even for a week or two....Just. Keep. Going! Stick with it! What we decide to do with our actions and what we tell the brain we can and can't do weighs heavy on our success in the end. I know it's sometimes easier said than done, but in the end, I know you can stick with it and do it. You are much stronger than you think. 

Here's to a great weekend ahead for all of us! 

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Get Healthy for Him

I was running on the treadmill at the gym last night.  I had my ear buds in and was listening to music when I glanced down at the 4-way TV that sits in the main, open part of the gym.  On the screen were the words:  “Get healthy for Him.” Now, I’m sure there are a number of ways you could look at this statement. I don’t even know what the advertisement was for, but I assume it was for something probably totally worldly and meant something along the lines of getting in shape for your spouse or the man in your life. For me it wasn’t that at all.
I’m not trying to push religion on you as I totally respect there are many out there who have their own ideas about religion, but since this is my personal blog, a place where I write my thoughts and experiences in regards to my own journey, for me it was a statement about getting healthy for the one who made it possible for me to even be here - God, the one who created this world we are blessed to live in. 
I know I have mentioned it before in previous posts but I oftentimes will reflect back and marvel at the human body as a whole. I feel like it’s a gift that is given to each one of us and it’s our job and responsibility to take care of it. I’m a firm believer that God doesn’t ever give us things He doesn’t know we are capable of overcoming. I know for me I was a slow learner on this one. In fact, for so many years of my life I think I was angry at the fact that I was fat. I would think things like, “Why did God give me a fat body and slow metabolism? What’s up with my families genetics? I’ll always be big!” 
It wasn’t until a few years ago, on a little hike, on a small mountain in Washington, that I realized that this was just part of the test for me. We’re all dealt a deck of cards. I call them the cards of our life. They may represent different things for each one of us. One of mine included overcoming obesity. Others that don’t pertain to me but might relate to someone else are cards consisting of things like, overcoming a terminal illness, not overcoming a terminal illness, family tragedy, will I get married?, will I ever have children?, will I be able to afford to go to college?, will I have grandchildren?, diabetes, heart disease, and the list can go on……
The bottom line is that no matter what cards are in the deck we are dealt, it is up to us to make the most of what we’ve been given so we can be successful in playing our cards right. Nobody can deal with it for us. Sure, we can have awesome support (Believe me, I have!) and people cheering us on, but when it comes down to it, no one can do the work for us but ourselves. Honestly, that is why my relationship with God has become so intimate over the past several years. I’ve always been a religious person but this was different. I had a lot to work through, a lot of healing to do, and I had to start to put my trust in something I had never believed in before…ME! Instead of being angry at God for the body I was given, I had to first apologize for the many years of self-destruction and putting the blame on food and others. I had to relinquish my anger towards Him in giving me this body in the first place, and learn that He loved and adored me from the beginning and wants only what is best for me. That together, He and I can work as a team and be successful in molding my body into what I wanted it to become. 
Life is definitely a journey, but I believe with the right people in your path, and you working towards becoming the best you know you can be, all things are possible. 

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Everyone Has a Story

We were driving through Park City this past weekend as we were in Utah for a National Dance Competition for my daughter. We were stopped at a stoplight when a very morbidly obese man made his way across the street. As I watched him walk my heart was torn in many ways. I felt for him. Even though I was never quite in the same situation he is currently facing, I was still obese and knew the feeling of being trapped and hopeless in my own body. The way he walked looked painful. I could only imagine the chaffing and body sores he must have in different areas of his body due to large amounts of skin rubbing against each other as he tried to move. I watched as the other people on the sidewalk watched him walk past and the look on their faces was almost that of them making fun of him. I wanted to roll down my window and yell at them but I refrained. In the same moment I wanted to roll down my window and tell this young man how proud I was of him. Yes, I am proud of a morbidly obese man I saw walking the streets of Park City! Why? Because everyone has a story and we don’t know his. Maybe he used to be heavier and he was out on his daily walk and has already lost 20,30, or even 50 pounds. Yay for him. And if he hasn’t, he’s still making a difference in his day by getting out there and walking.
I think we can all say we are guilty of looking at someone and making judgments or thoughts when we probably shouldn’t. I know I am not exempt when it comes to this. In fact, for a long time when I would go to the gym I would see one of the trainers who was definitely not “fit” in any way and I often wondered if that bothered her or even her clients? In my mind, I was thinking if I was a new person attending the gym and needing to find a trainer, I’d be looking for someone who I  had faith and confidence in. Someone who mirrored a healthy lifestyle. They certainly wouldn’t have to have a beach body by any means but just someone who I could tell worked on living the kind of lifestyle I was training to achieve. Makes sense right?  Well, after months of watching her work with clients and seeming  sweet and nice no less, I decided that she really is good at what she does. She is encouraging, you can tell her clients like her, and most of all, they still kept coming back week after week, month after month. Then one day while running on the treadmill I decided I had no place to assume  anything about her because I didn’t know her story. That has become my new mantra with people. For all I know she could been 300+ pounds a few years back and wow, look at her now, she looks great! See we didn’t know her story.
The same goes for even myself. I’m sure if a total stranger met me or even someone at the gym layed eyes on me, they could assume that I could stand to lose another 10-15+ pounds or be more fit than I am but did they know me at 278 pounds? Do they know how far I have already come? Do they know my story?
The body is an amazing thing. Even when it is big and obese it can do more than we think it can. And as we progress towards getting healthier, it will continue to surprise us with all the things it is capable of. Whether you are just starting your journey or consider yourself a work in progress, we all have a story and that I am grateful for. May you continue to press forward believing you can do anything you put your mind to. And who cares what others think, right? They don’t know your story.





 

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Positive Affirmations

Isn’t it ironic that we are our own worst critics? It’s been nearly 4 years since I changed my life and learned how to eat to live, and I still catch myself at times not being very nice to me. The truth of the matter is that we become what we think and say about ourselves. It’s just one of those facts in life, whether we want to believe it or not. 
For instance, if you are constantly telling yourself (like I did for many years of my life) that you have a weight problem because it’s genetics and several people in your family have this problem, then that is the person you will become. That is what you will always believe and  if the time ever comes in your life where you are trying to combat those thoughts, it will take an awful lot of convincing and work to help the brain to think otherwise. 
The good news is that this can also work just as effectively when constantly reminding ourselves of what a blessing it is to have the body that we have and start appreciating all the wonderful things it can do, even if we aren’t yet where we want to be. I know from my own experience that when I figured out how to be a cheerleader and actively encourage my body as it was changing, I had great success. I saw results, I saw progression, I saw what I have become today. 
This is what I have on my mirror in my bathroom this week. Yep, I like to write myself little notes, whether on my bathroom mirror, on a sticky note at work, in the car, or wherever it may be. The more I remind myself of what I am capable of, the more I surprise myself and continue on as I still struggle from time to time on this journey I now call maintenance. Positive affirmations make me feel good. They push me to keep going. They challenge me and help me want to be the best I know how to be! 
What are some of the things you have said to yourself lately? Are they positive? I promise that positive affirmations do work. You just have to invest yourself in them just like anything else important in your life. 

Happy thinking! You're worth it!

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Look Who I Did a Workout With.....Literally!

Last Thursday I showed up for my regular appointment with my trainer. After taking some measurements and going over how things have been going, he proceeded to ask me if I had some "tunes" with me. At first I was caught slightly off guard and then said, "Yes, in the car." He said for me to go get them because we were going to workout together today. At first I was thinking....seriously?! Like I could keep up with him and what he's going to be doing. And then the other part of me was thinking, "How cool is this? I'm up for a challenge".


We were working on chest and triceps (one of my favorites) so I was excited, regardless of what he was going to have me do. Honestly, depending on the day, sometimes I dread certain muscle groups, but this one never seems to get old or bother me.  It wasn't far into our workout (like less than a minute) that all my fears and anxiety of keeping up with the guy who's been such a huge part of my journey for the past 4 years was gone. I felt like an equal. Like it didn't matter what weight he was pushing or what weight I was pushing.  We were getting the job done. It was good for me to see him struggle, have to work, and push through the hard. It confirmed to me that he's just as real as you and I. Sometimes, I think we think of others that are paid to help us, whether it be a doctor, a dentist, or even a trainer or therapist of some sort, that they are on a different level than we are. Maybe they have more knowledge in certain things than we do because they have a profession in that field, but that does not make them exempt from having to work just as hard as we do at certain things or have to work to be healthy. 

I am so grateful for Jacob and his example to me in my life in so many ways. It's hard to believe at times that it's been 4 years already. He can tell you just like I can that the day I met him, I was not excited in the least bit about what was up ahead. I was quiet, reserved, and very protective of my weight issue.  My emotions were very delicate at that time in my life. I didn't come around very easily and I am the first to admit now, that I was a hard egg to crack. (Very hard!) Week after week, as the scale would slowly start to move and the inches on my body began to melt away, I still seemed to pick out the negative and not believe in myself and what was happening to my body. Looking back, I'm sure at times it was very frustrating for Jacob, but he just kept pressing me forward with an eye single to the goal at the end of the road. He believed in me far more than I ever believed in myself. In fact, his love for people, and changing lives is what helped me to learn to believe in myself. I wasn't a number or a project. I was a person. A person he became passionate about helping to see their potential in life. I know I'm not a trainer or a professional by any means when it comes to this stuff, but I am certain on one thing. I have a great love for who I have become in my life today. It wasn't easy and I had to work hard, but the pay off in the end doesn't compare to anything I could have ever imagined. My life is full. I am blessed. Thank you Jacob for being a huge part of who I am today! 

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Be Nice to You!

"You were given this body because you are strong enough to deal with it."

After seeing this quote yesterday morning, I’ve been thinking about it ever since. In some ways out of shame and in other ways out of celebration. 
It’s funny how when we allow ourselves to gain large amounts of access weight or not happy with something within the walls of our own body, how critical we are of ourselves. I am the first to admit I fell into this category more times than once, especially when I had 130+ pounds to lose. I think it’s a natural reaction. We don’t like how something looks or feels and because our body belongs to “us” per say, we feel like we have the right to be critical. Isn’t that funny how we do that? I mean we wouldn’t in our wildest dreams think of saying something to a friend or family member if we felt like they had some issues to deal with that were as personal as weight loss and self-image, right? Okay, maybe some would but I know that is territory I personally would steer away from. 
The reality is this, and it’s sad that it’s taken me until now to really understand how it works. Our bodies are not the way they are in shape and size entirely based on genetics. That plays a very small part, but as far as what our scale weight is and what our body fat percentage is, all is a result of what WE, the “body owner,” chooses to feed it. So yes, when I was nearly 280 pounds and feeling sorry for myself and frustrated… really, I was the only one to blame for the problem that had become out of hand. Even though I didn’t think that was the case. I mean, it didn’t matter what diet I tried or what exercises I kept trying to do, the weight still wouldn’t come off so how could it be my fault?  Why not blame genetics or life’s circumstances?  I think sometimes it’s so easy to push the blame on something or someone else when really we as the person suffering are the one who needs addressed. Granted we may not yet understand the best solution or cycle for what our body will respond to as we are all different, but the underlying problem stems from our behaviors. The good news is that there is an answer for everyone and what may work for one person may not work for the next, so being patient and finding just the right fit is the key.  It’s the “how” we treat our bodies in the process that makes the difference. 
I’ve learned to think of the body and how it works as a machine. Truly that is what it is. What we chose to do with that is up to us. It’s like me pulling into the gas station and putting diesel in my car instead of unleaded. It wouldn’t work. It would cause a problem. The car would rebel. Our bodies are much the same way. They need to be fueled with things they like and that can help them excel, not filled with the constant things that make them tired and sluggish. Again, the “what” is going to vary from person to person.  
Regardless, in the process I think it’s so important for us to be nice to our bodies. To treat them with respect just like we would anything else. Keep in mind this whole lifestyle to healthy is a process. As long as you are trying, your body is trying. Learning to work together instead of against each other is the key to success. Just recently I have found my mind wanting to wander and be critical or negative about my mid-section and the loose skin and the will-it-ever-go- away talk. Then I am quickly reminded of the hard work we have already accomplished together and the success we have had. I remind myself that in order for that area of my body to continue to make the progress I am hopeful for, I need to remain positive, build it up, and encourage it along the way. It’s amazing what will start to happen when you think of all the imperfections on your body as your greatest blessings in strengthening yourself. Yes, life is good!

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Celebrate the Small

Celebration #1
I know this may seem corny to some but last week when I got on the plane to fly to San Diego for Ragnar I went to buckle my seat belt and this is what I saw.

A whole several inches, maybe even a foot or more of leftover seat belt. Not to mention my legs were even crossed. It made me smile. I'm sure the guy sitting next to me was wondering what in the world I was doing when I pulled out my phone and was trying to get a picture at just the right angle of my lap.  Oh well, I didn't care. I was just relishing in the fact that a few years before that when boarding an airplane I would have to quietly ask the flight attendant for a seat-belt extender in order to get the seat belt to fit around me.
Celebration #2
After losing a good portion on my weight I needed to get my wedding ring re-sized as I was fearful of having it fall off and losing it somewhere. Now, maybe I should tell you that at one point in my life I needed to have gold added to the ring in order for it to fit as I had put on weight since my wedding day. I remember that being a very hard thing for me.  I felt like I was accepting the fact that I was getting fat but the reality was that I didn't want to go without my ring either. Regardless, my ring has fit fine since having the gold removed again after losing the weight, but often times, over the last several months, I notice it spin around on my finger and display itself as maybe needing yet another sizing. Again, this is exciting to me. Even though I may not be losing large amounts of weight anymore, my body is still changing as I continue to work on my fitness.
Here it is, nearly 3 1/2 years since taking off all my weight, and the little surprises or the moments like these make me celebrate who I have become.  

Is there something you can celebrate this week? Whether it be big or small, we all had to start somewhere. Celebrate something! 

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